Sheaths are a perfect companion to any knife. They keep your knife accessible, ready for deployment at any time, and protect the edge from nicks and breakages.
Leather, one of the most popular materials used in the production of sheaths, is a natural material that can wear and break down over time. So, here’s how you can take care of your leather knife sheath so that it won’t only last for a long time but also protect your knife as it should.
Natural leather loses its oil content faster and shows wear and tear more drastically because it is “raw” and lacks many of the oils and waxes used to make colored leathers. If neglected, your leather can stiffen, crack, and dry.
The following are some basics of maintaining the quality of your leather:
● Avoid getting your leather sheath wet for long periods.
● Avoid exposing it to excessive heat. Putting your sheath on your heated dashboard or near a campfire or heater might cause its natural oils to dry out.
● Don’t use a product on your leather that you wouldn’t use on your own skin.
● Do not carry a knife that is unclean or wet in your holster.
● Too much leather conditioning can be bad. Too much oil, wax, harsh cleanings, and chemicals can wear your leather out, soften it too much, or harden it too much.
Cleaning Your Leather Sheath
Most of the time, a quick wipe down with a soft, moist cloth is all that’s required to clean your leather sheath. It’s a good idea to do some deep cleaning every now and then to remove deep-seated dirt and grime. You can use a leather furniture cleaner but always test the cleaning product on an inconspicuous portion of your leather first, to make sure it won’t discolor your sheath.
Never, ever put away a dirty blade. Cleaning the inside of a sheath is more difficult than wiping your blade clean all the time before sheathing it.
If dirt gets inside your sheath, use a toothbrush and some warm soapy water or saddle soap to clean the inside. Make a J-hook out of a pipe cleaner or use a soft bristle rifle bore brush if a toothbrush won’t fit. Before restoring the blade, make sure the sheath is completely dry.
Drying Your Wet Leather Sheath
If your leather becomes wet, do not dry it out too quickly. don’t dry it near a campfire or a stove. Fires and furnaces will dry out all of the natural oils in the leather and will make it brittle.
If your sheath is wet, wrap it in a dry towel and set it somewhere warm, such as under the sun or in a warm room. You may have to replace the towel a few times. Do not place it in direct sunlight. If your blade is still wet, don’t put it back in the sheath.
Cleaning Products to Avoid
When it comes to the products you use to clean your leather sheath, it’s best to avoid those that can harm the leather material.
Don’t use shoe polish to clean your leather. The great majority will cause your leather to soften and your sheath to lose its shape.
Petroleum-based products are a no-no since the molecules in these products will break down over time and dry out your leather.
With proper care, your leather knife sheath can last longer and protect your knife better. If you’d like to add a few more leather sheaths to your collection, head over to The Knife Connection. They have a great selection of different sheaths for different knife sizes. Check them out!